Centre, AAP govt spar over Metro fare hike, Swachh funds

Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Sunday dubbed as “absurd” the suggestions that Delhiites shifted to other modes of transport like cab services or started buying expensive cars due to the recent Metro fare hike.

delhi Updated: Dec 16, 2017 23:18 IST
PTI and HTC
PTI and HTC
Hindustan Times
AAP,AAP govt,metro
Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Sunday dubbed as “absurd” the suggestions that Delhiites shifted to other modes of transport like cab services or started buying expensive cars due to the recent Metro fare hike. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

The Centre and Delhi government on Saturday sparred over Metro fare hike and utilisation of funds under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Sunday dubbed as “absurd” the suggestions that Delhiites shifted to other modes of transport like cab services or started buying expensive cars due to the recent Metro fare hike.

The comments come in the backdrop of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal having written a letter to Puri, seeking a review of the hike and reiterating his offer to partially bear the cost of the proposed “claw back”.

“If #Metro is an ‘expensive luxury liner’ then #DTC should immediately buy more buses to make up for shortfall of 7000 buses & drastic 35% drop in ridership. Who’s responsible for this? Surely Delhi citizens deserve both - an efficient and reliable DTC & much better arguments!,” the Union minister said on Twitter.

In response, Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot’s tweeted: “Dear @HardeepSPuri sir : you are right - Delhi needs both the Metro & more DTC buses. We are procuring more buses & are ready to bear 50% of Metro losses. Please accept our offer & allow Delhiites a Metro ride at Reasonable and Affordable fares.”

Puri also raised the issue of “under-utilisation” of funds under Swachh Bharat Mission and asked the Delhi government to step up expenditure under the scheme to improve services, sources said.

Puri wrote to Kejriwal, stating that Rs 104.75 crore was released by the ministry in 2015 against the allocation of Rs 349.75 crore, the sources said.

“Out of this, a sum of Rs 32.52 crore only has been spent so far and the balance is lying unutilised. Urgent efforts appear to be called for to step up the incurring of expenditure and delivery of services to the Delhi’s citizen for promoting Swachh Bharat,” the sources said, quoting the letter.

Puri noted in the letter that Delhi was yet to implement the solid waste management rules in “right earnest” that results in high quantity of waste going to land fill sites for dumping.

To this, the Delhi government spokesperson issued a statement which said that since required utilisation has not been made by MCDs, additional funds could not be claimed in 2016-16 and 2017-18.

“MCDs are not able to spend much. They have failed to spend under major Solid Waste Management component as they are not able to provide matching contribution of over 50% share. (As per revised formula Centre gives 35%, UT-11.67% & rest is ULBs share in SWM),” the statement read.

First Published: Dec 16, 2017 23:17 IST